Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Sunday, December 5, 2010
Saturday, December 4, 2010
A beloved son carrying the wood for his own sacrifice.
A ram caught in the thicket. A substitute sacrifice.
Yes, the Lord will provide.
And to this day it is said, "On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided" (Genesis 22:14).
Friday, December 3, 2010
I watched as my wife wiped a gray tendril of hair from her glistening forehead. My insides quaked. Something was threatening to unearth my fears. It bubbled in my belly, shook my chest, and tickled my throat until it erupted out of my mouth. There was a cavern deeper than my fears that I had not known existed, and out of it, sprung laughter.
Sarah turned and held out the child toward me. "Do not be afraid, Abram." The words came to me as from some distant dream. "I am your shield, your very great reward."
I extended my arms to receive the child and caught a glimpse of my own wrinkly hands. With these hands, I had awoken Sarah from her sleep. I took her hand, so small in my own, opened the tent flap, and led her into the night. The moonlight sparkled on her face. Such beauty!
"Look up, Sarah. See those stars? Try to count them."
She giggled, "Oh Abram, that's impossible!"
"Maybe, but God says that our family will one day be like those stars."
She placed a hand over her barren womb and tears filled her eyes, "Oh Abram, what if it was true?"
We spent the rest of the night lying on our backs and naming the stars.
Time passed. My beard turned white, Sarah's shoulders began to hunch, and hope fled. These were the days of desperation and despair. My servant, Hagar bore a child, but he was not the promised one. Sarah seethed in jealous anger. We sent Hagar and the child away and continued to wait. My hands had been wrung, clenched, and shaken at the heavens. How long, O Lord!
Now, these hands that had been empty for so long held a baby. I pulled my son close and his eyes met my own. They were his mother's, sparkling jewels. He reached up, grabbed my beard, and gave it a royal tug. "Yow!" Sarah howled with laughter.
It was a laugh very different from a year ago, when three visitors came. We offered them food and I dined with them outside the tent. In between bites, one of them spoke, "Next year at this time I will return, and your wife Sarah will have a son." As soon as the words left his mouth, there was the sound of laughter from inside the tent. Sarah had been listening and the laughter snuck out of her before she had time to muffle it.
"Why did Sarah laugh?" the visitor asked, motioning toward the tent.
Sarah poked her head out, "I didn't laugh."
A smile spread across the visitor's face. He reached up and turned Sarah towards him. "Yes, you did laugh." He let out a little chuckle of his own saying, "Is anything too hard for the Lord?"I returned the child to his mother. "I've thought of the perfect name for our son. Let's call him Laughter, for surely he will bring laughter to the whole world."
Thursday, December 2, 2010
"Never again will I flood the world in the down pouring of my wrath. The rainbow will stand between you and me. It's an umbrella, a sign of this promise. I will provide shelter."
Yes, God would provide. Through the line of Noah's son, Shem, God was going to build a family. This family would come from the childless one ironically named, "father."
"Abram, leave everything you know, your country, your people, and your father's house, and walk with me into the unknown. I will give you what you lost in Eden, land. You will no longer be defined by the curse in the Garden, but by a blessing." As in Adam, all were cursed, so in your seed all will be blessed."
Letting go of all he could hold, Abram clung to the promise.
By faith, Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going (Hebrews 11:8).
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Wickedness increased and the earth groaned.
All around us we observe a pregnant creation. The difficult times of pain throughout the world are simply birth pangs (Romans 8:22 The Message).
Sin reigned and the people groaned.
But it’s not only around us; it’s within us. The Spirit of God is arousing us within. We’re also feeling the birth pangs. These sterile and barren bodies of ours are yearning for full deliverance. That is why waiting does not diminish us, any more than waiting diminishes a pregnant mother. We are enlarged in the waiting. We, of course, don’t see what is enlarging us. But the longer we wait, the larger we become, and the more joyful our expectancy (Romans 8:23-25 The Message).
Then came one whose name means “comfort.” Looking down at the baby boy in his arms, Lamech said, “He will comfort us in the labor and painful toil of our hands caused by the ground the Lord has cursed,” and named the boy, Noah.
The Lord was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain. So the Lord said, “I will wipe mankind, whom I have created, from the face of the earth – men and animals, and creatures that move along the ground, and birds of the air – for I am grieved that I have made them.” But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord (Genesis 6:6-8).
God told Noah, “Build an ark. Gather your wife, your 3 sons, and your sons’ wives and enter the ark. Bring along two of all the unclean animals, a male and a female, and seven of all the clean animals that they may live. I am going to send a torrential downpour to destroy and cleanse the earth. But inside the ark, you will be saved from the flood of God’s wrath.”
By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family (Hebrews 11:7).
Noah and his family entered the ark and the Lord shut them in. It was dark and quiet as even the animals waited in silence. Then, a strong gust of wind blew against the boat, there was a pattering on the roof, and it started to rain. All the springs of the great deep burst forth, and the floodgates of the heavens were opened (Genesis 7:11). The ark creaked and began to lift, swaying from side to side. The ark rose as water immersed the flowers, trees, hills, and mountains.
Every living thing outside the ark died; men and animals, crawly things and birds, everything was wiped out. Everything that is, except…Noah, his family, and the animals inside the ark.
Finally, after 40 days and 40 nights, the rains stopped. The storm ended and left with it a deafening silence. For 5 months, the waters continued to flood the earth. The Noah clan was adrift at sea and floating on a water grave.
But God remembered Noah and all the wild animals and the livestock that were with him in the ark (Genesis 8:1).
As God had blown into the corpse of Adam the breath of life, God sent a gust of wind over the whole earth. The waters fled at His breath, scampering back into the cracks and crevices from which they had sprung. The ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat. Noah called for a raven and a dove. He opened the window and released the birds, waiting for some sign that the waters had receded. Nothing.
In 7 days, Noah sent out the dove again. This time when the dove returned, it was carrying in its beak a freshly plucked olive leaf. Life! Peace!
Noah took off the roof of the ark, and rays of sunlight shot down on his head. As Noah adjusted his eyes, he looked out. The earth shimmered. And, oh, how green it was!
“When the storm leaves, there’s a silence that says you don’t have to fear anymore. The trees are greener, the sky’s an ocean. The world is washed and starting over.” ("Everything Sad is Coming Untrue, Part 2" by Jason Gray)
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Shadows to my right, a scuffle, and the deafening cry of a bleating lamb. Then, footsteps. My heart was pounding. I found a tree and dove behind it. Cowering there, I heard the footsteps grow ever closer. Oh God, save me, I breathed.
The footsteps stopped. A familiar voice called out, "Where are you?"
Dare I answer? What if He found out what I had done?
It was quiet for a moment, and then my husband spoke, "I...I heard you and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid."
"Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?"
Adam grabbed my arm, pulled me out from my hiding place, and shoved me forward. "This woman, she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it."
I stared hard at the ground but could feel those eyes of sparkling jewels shift to me. I was certain I had met my end.
"What is this you have done?"
I could not look up. What would anger look like on such a face? Would a scowl cross that holy countenance? If the world was made with a word, what kind of destruction could a shout bring? And who could blame Him? It's what I deserved. He gave generously, and I took from him the one thing that was not mine to have. I broke the only commandment he spoke.
"You must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die."
I was heavy with guilt and had a sudden urge to beat my fist against my forehead. A lump grew and lingered in my throat. How could I have been so foolish?!
Then I remembered the serpent and his slippery words. "Did God really say?...You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil."
My anger transferred to the slimy snake. He had made it sound so convincing. Greatness... God was holding me back...God was keeping something from me. But now I see that serpent for what he really is, the father of lies.
My face contorted as I fought to beat down the lump that swelled in my throat. My eyes burned until tears could no longer be contained. Best to look up now and meet my ruin rather than prolong it.
"The serpent deceived me, and I ate."
I looked up and what I saw sent a new pain into my chest. But this pain did not destroy me. No, it was healing me. My Maker's cheeks were just as smitten with tears as my own, his hands were stained red, and adorning his shoulder was the skin of a lamb.
The Lord turned to the serpent who sat with a satisfied smile and spoke, "Cursed are you. You will crawl on your belly and eat dust. You have set yourself up as a war maker and you will continue to make war against the woman and her children. You will nip, bite, and scratch at her heels." The Lord glanced in my direction, and I saw a twinkle of hope spark in his eyes." But He will crush your head."
Then God turned to face my husband and me. He told us the new order of things, that life could now only come on the heels of great pain. "The ground," God said, "will poke, cut, tear, scratch, and gnaw, but by the sweat of Adam's brow and through much toil, life will spring up yet again." And to me he said, "As Adam will labor to bring forth life from the earth, you will likewise labor to bring forth life from your womb." With these words, God slung the sheep skin off his shoulder and laid it before us. "Put this on. It will cover you."
When we were clothed, God led us out of the garden. As we left, I turned back for one last view of my home and saw cherubim brandishing swords and barring the way to the tree of life.
There has not been a day gone by when I haven't longed to go back. I wake up from dreams I can't remember with a distinct feeling of homesickness in my heart. I ache for the day when He will come and crush the head of the serpent of lies, make clear the way to the tree of life, and carry me home.
Monday, November 29, 2010
Sunday, November 28, 2010
I couldn't help but let out a chuckle and think, "Where have you been these last three months?" You see, since the beginning of August, our Kingdom Kids class has been scouring the Old Testament stories for signs of the promised Messiah. For 12 weeks, we've bent our ears and listened for whispers of Christ in the stories of Adam and Eve, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, and David. How had this child missed what we had been emphasizing for so long? I was about to let out a sigh of frustration, when I realized it was not a lack of listening that had prompted the question; but rather, it was a moment of recognition. Jesus is in the Old Testament, as well as the New.
This is a truth that even many adults miss. I was part of a conversation about curriculum when a woman spoke, "Why do we spend so much time studying the stories of the Old Testament? We should stick to teaching about Christ because he's the one who saves us." She's right that Christ should be at the center of our teaching and preaching, but she was mistaken in thinking that the Old Testament was not about Jesus.
Jesus is the one who would crush the head of the lying serpent and clear the way back to the Tree of Life. He would be the ark that saves the people from the flood of God's wrath. He would come from the seed of Abraham and bring blessing to the whole world. Like Joseph, Jesus would be punished even though he had done nothing wrong. Like Moses, he would release the captives from bondage and lead them safely to the Promised Land. He would be the Passover lamb that was slain so that his blood would cover the people. He would be the mediator between God and man. He would be the true Yeshua who would remind the people that "Yahweh saves." He would be the son of David, a king whose kingdom would never end. He would be the fulfillment of the temple, God's dwelling with man. He would be the suffering servant, the stump of Jesse, and the holy branch. He would love his wayward wife, Israel, as Hosea bought back the prostitute, Gomer. He would descend into darkness, like Jonah, and emerge three days later.
No, Emmanuel had not yet been born, and no, the Word had not yet become flesh, but Christ inhabits the Old Testament as well as the New. As Sally Lloyd Jones puts it in The Jesus Storybook Bible,
"There are lots of stories in the Bible but all the stories are telling one big Story - the Story of how God loves his children and comes to rescue them. It takes the whole Bible to tell this story and at the center of the story, there is a baby. Every story in the Bible whispers His name. He is like the missing piece of a puzzle, the piece that makes all the other pieces fit together and suddenly, you can see a beautiful picture."
I also like how Timothy Keller puts it in this video:
Today marks the start of the Advent season. Journey with me through the stories of the Old Testament as we prepare for Christ's coming.
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
This is something I wrote a couple of years ago and felt it would be appropriate to resurrect in light of beginning a new year of Wednesday night care groups.
Friday, June 11, 2010
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Ah, to marvel like a child...
The originator of this quote and our student of the week is Logan Ruzic. On Wednesday nights before church, I get to hang out with Logan. We play kickball, build dams, track any number of creatures (birds, lizzards, worms, etc.), and invent new designs for paper airplanes. In everything Logan does, life spills out of him. And as the statement at the beginning of this post illustrates, Logan is just as full of insight as he is adventure. He sees the world with wide-eyed wonder and is teaching me to do the same. Thanks Logan, for teaching me to marvel and filling me with abundant life.
Here's an interview I recently had with Logan:
What are some of your favorite things to do?
What are some of your favorite sports?
kickball, football, wrestling
If you discovered a planet, what would you name it?
I don't really know because it depends on what it looks like and how big it is and stuff like that.
What if it was a big planet?
What if it was really small?
What if it was on fire?
That would be pretty much like the sun, so I would call it "Sun."
What's your favorite food?
If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you like to go and why?
I used to want to go to Africa, but now I want to go to Egypt so I can dig up some gold and rubies and stuff like that.
What's your favorite song?
It's by Jason Gray, on his first CD All The Lovely Losers #7, "I'm Not Going Down"
What was the last book you read?
Jigsaw Jones Private Eye: The Case of the Christmas Snowman. It has 74 pages.
What's your favorite word?
I don't know what the word is, but it's this big science word that has 2,000 some letters in it. It looks like a paragraph, and it's the longest word in history.
What's your favorite Bible story?
the story of the 10 plagues
Monday, March 29, 2010
"I call dibs next to Jesus," Simon the Zealot cried out.
"Hey, we already called those seats!" exclaimed James and John in unison.
"No you didn't. your mom did, and besides, if we're recalling firsts, I believe I was the first disciple that Jesus called," Andrew was quick to point out.
"Well, first is worst and second is best. Jesus told me that I was the rock upon which he was going to build his church."
"Yeah, Pete, but he also called you Satan. I think that cancels out the whole 'rock' thing."
"But I walked on water," Peter said defending himself.
"Okay, so maybe I was wrong. You were a rock; at least you sunk like one!"
"Very funny, I don't recall you standing next to Jesus when his face was transfigured and he talked with Elijah and Moses."
"Well, I hate to burst your bubble, brother, but you would have never even known Jesus had I not taken you to him. And speaking of taking things to Jesus...who was it that brought to him the boy with five loaves and two fish? Five thousand people were fed because of what I did."
"Jesus turned to me when he wanted to know where we would find bread for all the people to eat," Phillip said, joining in the argument.
"Don't kid yourselves. If you guys wouldn't have been there, we all know that Jesus could have rained down bread from heaven. He could have turned stones to bread if he wanted. Greatness isn't measured by what you do, but by what Jesus says of you. When Jesus saw me, he said, 'Here is a true Israelite, in whom there is nothing false.' Boy, he sure did know what he was talking about," Nathanael interjected.
"If we're discussing names, it should be pointed out that we're called the 'Sons of Thunder.' Now that is a name that resounds with greatness."
"Yeah, but did Jesus ever eat dinner at your house with all your friends?"
"There's no way I'm letting a tax collector in above me. You may be use to handling people's money, but Jesus wasn't about to let some swindling tax collector be his treasurer. He entrusted that job to one who was a dependable steward of money, like me." With that, Iscariot, took the chief seat at Jesus' right hand.
As they elbowed and shoved their way to the front, Jesus slowly walked toward the basin. With the soft murmer of the disciples' argument echoing about the room, Jesus took off his outer clothes, wrapped a towel around his waist, and poured water into the basin. The room fell silent. One-by-one, the Lord washed his disciples' filthy feet. They all saw the basin, but only one took up the towel.
Sunday, March 21, 2010
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
When I asked Becky (Caleb's Wednesday night teacher) to describe him, she used the words attentive and lively. These two adjectives may not seem like they fit together, but I think they describe Caleb perfectly. He's excited, enthusiastic, and lively while at the same time being an engaged and attentive listener.
Whether it's acting out a Bible story, designing a wedding dress out of toilet paper, or making up actions for the memory verse, Caleb's the first to volunteer and participates without fear of what others might think. He is always willing to try new things, and as Caleb's dance performance during the Fall Festival illustrates, he is not intimidated by a crowd. Here's how Nancy (Caleb's small group leader) puts it,
"Caleb is always eager and willing to try, always participating in class. Even if he isn't sure, he takes that step of faith rather than staying back because he's afraid of being wrong. As adults, we can learn a lot from that childlike faith."
Thank you, Caleb, for showing me faith without fear. Your contagious enthusiasm makes you a joy to have in class.
Wednesday night, I sat down with Caleb and asked him a few questions. He informed me that he had never been interviewed before, so I bring to you an exclusive, first-time interview with Caleb Cook:
Friday, February 26, 2010
The next evening, after a day of scavenging the local bookstores, Eric came back for an all-church concert. With guitar in hand, charango in tow, and a harmonica to boot, Eric began to weave a tale. And imbedded in the fabric of this story was the promise, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you."
He told his own story. He read from his childhood diary and we were transposed into the mind of a child. He sang of his wife in songs like, "Sad to Watch You Wave" and "May Your Tenderness." He gave a benediction to his sons in the song, "I Will Go with You." He sang of his own struggles, disillusionment, and hope in songs like "Reality Came Crashing Down" and "Old Year of Denial." And rising like a steady drumbeat was the guarantee "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you."
He told the stories of others. With a smirk and a wink, he sang of a race horse with an identity complex. Cloaked in the fur-covered garments of Jacob, he told of a conman who was blessed. Donning the rust of an abandoned bicycle, he told of his desire to be reclaimed. And sporting the skittish feet of a rabbit, he told of his longing for a place of rest. The drum beat drew ever nearer, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you."
He told my own story. There is a quote by Frederick Buechner inside the cover of Eric's latest CD that says, "The story of any one of us is in some measure the story of us all." In the stories Eric told, I found my own story of fear and faith, displacement and hope, anxiety and trust. My own struggle to love and be loved was reflected back to me in the words, "I thought love was a weapon to conquer and wield but love turned out humble and it still conquers me." And I surrendered with the realization that, "little by little it's becoming all I need." Rattling the bones of my own story is the pounding promise, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you."
For those interested, here's the set list for the night:
- "You Come Over Me"
- "Little by Little Things"
- "Run Down"
- "Reality Came Crashing Down"
- "Old Year of Denial"
- "I Will Go with You"
- "Sad to Watch You Wave"
- "Son of Laughter"
- "You Can be Yourself"
- "May Your Tenderness"
Thank you to everyone who came out for the show. I hope you left with the assurance that you are never alone.
Sunday, February 21, 2010
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
I first recognized my bondage in Jr. High. Through wearing the right clothes, saying the right things, and associating with the right people, I struggled to fit in with the fashionable few. Leaving my elementary friends, I set out in pursuit of popularity. The social barometer was the lunch table, and I would not be content until eating with the "in" crowd. In this failed attempt to find significance, my chains were clearly visible.
Bearing the burden of my bonds, I entered high school. At a youth event the summer before my sophomore year, I met a family who would change my priorities. These were a peculiar people. They didn't care about attire or outward appearance. Their language was not tattered by gossip or meaningless chatter, but was filled with gentleness, grace, and kindness. As I spent more time with them, I realized the foolishness of chasing the chaff of popularity. For a moment, it felt as if my shackles had been loosed. Yet even as the size of my audience grew smaller, I continued to perform: choosing the words my character would speak, emotions she would express, and insights she would reveal. In the midst of becoming a respectable person, I felt the cold clasp of chains.
In time, I graduated high school. The transition to college brought new people and new expectations. In an effort not to disappoint others, I worked, studied, and practiced with vigor. My performance was directly tied to how I viewed myself. When I performed well, I felt good. When I performed poorly, I felt shame. My aim was to avoid shame through the means of excellence. My bonds became a burden disguised in the cloak of discipline. However, in the midst of my chase fueled by bad motives, God continued to reveal Himself to me. As I listened to lectures, completed assigned reading, wrote papers, and studied for tests, I contacted a God of love. Growing in acceptance of His love, I learned to cast aside my chains. Yet, they lingered.
I am now a children's minister. Shortly after my first year of planning for Wednesday nights, someone came to me with criticism. After she left, I cried, and as tears streamed down my face, I felt the cold clasp of chains. Lest, you begin to feel sorry for me, I better tell you that this criticism was countered with praise as I received letters in the mail, balloons in my office, and spoken words of appreciation. Ironically, the more praise I receive, the more I crave. In my quest for one more word of approval, I trip over my chains.
"Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ" (Gal. 1:0). When will I find release? "But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit" (Rom. 7:6). I will always be bound, but it is my choice as to who is my master. Will I serve God, or man? As Kenneth Boa writes in his book, Conformed to His Image, "The more we are concerned with what God thinks of us, the less we will be worried about what others think of us. And when we are no longer enslaved to people's opinions of us, we are free to love and serve them as Christ loves us - with no strings attached."
Lord, help me to accept your love. "Set me free from my prison that I may praise your name" (Ps. 142:7).
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
My dad likes to play hide-and-seek with my 2-year old nephew, Silas. Dad hides behind the bed while my nephew counts. Then Silas goes seeking until Dad comes charging out of the room chasing him into the waiting arms of a third party. Amidst the shrieks of laughter, Silas chuckles out, "Do it again."
Last week my neighbors, Rachel and Evanson, came over to play in the snow. One of our favorite things to do was race down the hill on our sleds. As we sped down the slope and tumbled into the ditch, we would giggle with glee, until one of the kids would suggest, "Let's do it again." So we would carry our sleds back up the hill and slide down again... and again... and again..., until my legs grew heavy, my cheeks turned flush and my fingers were numb. As I trudged back to my house to warm up by the fire, I heard a child's voice call out, "Maybe tomorrow we can do it again."
How many times have you watched that same movie, listened to that same song, repeated that same joke, or made that same funny face only to hear "Do it again?" So you do it again... and again... and again... And each time the child squeals as if it were the very first time. For repetition does not diminish the joy the child finds in the act. What if this delight is a God-like characteristic? I love this quote by G.K. Chesterton:
"A child kicks its legs rhythmically through excess, not absence, of life. Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, "Do it again"' and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, "Do it again" to the sun; and every evening, "Do it again" to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we."
So tonight when billions of stars blanket the sky, and tomorrow when the sun peeks over the horizon, may you be filled with wonder. May you view these acts as if you were seeing them for the first time, and may your heart cry out, "Do it again." Lord, help us to grow young.
Friday, January 29, 2010
Even though the conversation was in jest, I think there is truth to that statement. Love does have a pointy side. As C.S. Lewis said, "To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one."
It hurts to turn your cheek only to be slapped on fresh skin. It is painful to fall on the side of love that causes you to pay back blessing for insult, to pray for your persecutor, to forgive for the seventy-seventh time, to submit to a harsh master, to remain faithful in the face of infidelity, and to wash the feet of your betrayer. In the end you find that love costs more than you ever thought you could give.
Not only does it hurt to give love, but it also hurts to be loved. It hurts to resume relationship with someone you have disappointed. It hurts to be forgiven when you have done nothing to merit forgiveness. It hurts to be loved when you feel unlovely. Love is a scourging. The blade of love cuts, chisels, and carves. The mallet of love bruises, pounds, and shatters. You are left pierced, punctured, bleeding, and blistered. Sometimes love feels like death. And maybe that's what it is. Because when you awake, you find that you are not the same person you used to be. Your old self is gone; you are new.
That's when you look up and notice your Lover's face is tear-streaked. For you see that it is His hands that are pierced. It is His side that is punctured. It is His brow that is bleeding and His back that is blistered.
So when you encounter the soft side of love this Valentine season, the kind that flitters in your stomach, cuddles you with teddy bears, and tastes as sweet as a candy heart, may you remember that love has a pointy side. Thank God. For it is by His wounds we are healed.